A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office volunteer drove his vehicle onto the Tampa Executive Airport runway Saturday morning and smashed into the Instrument Landing System antennas, according to the sheriff’s office.
Just before 6 a.m., William Nelson, a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office volunteer, drove his 2013 Chevrolet Camaro onto the airfield. In the passenger seat was Dep. Paul Rogers, the sheriff’s office said.
Both are assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Section and were responsible for conducting routine perimeter checks at the airport.
Nelson drove the Camaro onto the airport’s main runway at a high rate of speed, lost control of the and struck the ILS antennas, which sends a beam to incoming aircraft to aid in landing.
Neither Nelson nor Rogers were injured in the crash, deputies said.
The impact of the crash did render the ILS system inoperable. Both the Federal Aviation Authority and the Hillsborough Aviation Authority were notified and an investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office began immediately.
Rogers, a sheriff’s office pilot, has been suspended and faces possible punishment. Nelson, a retired sheriff’s office sergeant, was removed from his volunteer duties and could face criminal charges at the conclusion of the investigation.
The Tampa Executive Airport runway was closed briefly, Saturday and its ILS systems was inoperable Saturday night.
A person answering the phone at the airport Sunday did not know if the antennas were functioning again, but she did say everything “has been normal.”